Protecting Your Kids from Dangerous Tip-Over Accidents

by Terry Bryant

IKEA Recall

Do you own dangerous IKEA furniture that tips over?

When parents and children glance around the same room, they often see very different things. While a mother may see a large set of dresser drawers filled with clothing, a child may see the same structure and decide to pull out the drawers out so they can be used like the rungs of a ladder – helping the child quickly climb to the top.

Unfortunately, that latter scenario unfolds far too often. According to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about two children a month die after a large TV, a heavy appliance or a piece of furniture (like a set of dresser drawers or a bookcase) unexpectedly falls down on top of them. In fact, three children per hour are injured this way every day.

One recent news story addressing this topic involves furniture maker IKEA who stated it’s no longer going to sell dresser drawers that tip over too easily. This announcement came after three toddlers died in this manner. The company is also planning to offer full refunds to millions of past buyers of these dressers. It’s estimated that about 29 million of these dresser drawers have been sold during the past decade. Unfortunately, far too many purchasers failed to secure these pieces of furniture to the nearest walls using anti-tip brackets or anchoring kits.

The following additional facts and statistics regarding tip-over accidents can help you better safeguard your home. Always be sure to anchor all of the named objects to the nearest walls.

Household Products and Objects Often Involved in Tip-Over Accidents

  • Any type of television set or home entertainment center. Kids often see a remote control device resting on a high shelf and decide to do whatever is necessary to climb up and grab it. They’re eager to change TV channels or otherwise control various music, video or other entertainment devices;
  • Bookcases made of nearly any type of wood or metal. Like dresser drawers, bookcases may look a bit like open rungs of a ladder to kids. They may eagerly climb them – fully unaware that they can suddenly fall over – seriously injuring or even killing them;
  • Computers, printers, scanners, copy machines and other office equipment. When young children see their parents or teachers at school working with these items, they assume that they are easy to use. However, it’s far too easy for small (or even older) children to climb into desk chairs (or onto desks) to use them – perhaps then losing their balance and having one of these machines fall on them;
  • Large household appliances (like those in your kitchen), exercise equipment, or general lawn tools. Always tell your children that they must first obtain permission from an adult to use any of these items – and that they can only use them when an adult is nearby. Never leave lawn mowers, carpentry equipment or other similar goods on display in your garage, thinking your kids will never try to use them. Instead, keep them safely locked up in a special place.

More CPSC’s Statistics Regarding How Kids Are Injured in Tip-Over Accidents

  • About sixty percent (60%) of children are suffocated or crushed to death when large dresser drawers (or other huge objects) fall on them;
  • Between 15 and 20 percent of children find themselves trapped beneath large wall TVs, bookcases or huge stoves that have fallen down on top of them. Many struggle to breathe while emergency personnel are rushing to help them;
  • About 10 percent of kids who climb on large objects are hurt by falling items. All kinds of sharp or heavy keepsakes can fly off a set of dresser drawers or a bookcase as it falls to the ground. These items can also shoot out and hurt others sitting nearby;
  • A wide variety of other injuries affect the remaining 10 percent of children hurt in tip-over accidents. Falling glass objects or even heavy statuettes can hit a child in the head or face, causing serious lacerations and heavy bleeding – among other injuries. Also, when a wall-mounted TV falls off a wall or entertainment stand, it can even start a major fire.

Before Leaving Your Kids at Home with Babysitters or Older Relatives

Lock up heavy exercise equipment in your den or personal bedroom, forbidding anyone from using it while you’re away. Create rules about what activities are allowed when you’re not home. Explain that you’re concerned for your children’s safety and need their cooperation.

Finally, always remind your well-trained babysitter to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. Also, keep a posted list in the kitchen of your personal cell phone numbers, as well as those of local poison control, fire department, hospital emergency room — and other similar health and safety officials. Make it clear that you should be immediately contacted regarding any accident – however small or minor it seems, especially when head injuries are sustained.